Donald Trump usually brags about accomplishments he made on Israel’s behalf during his presidency. He sang a different tune, a very weird one when speaking after the attacks in that country.
What Did Donald Trump Say?
Donald Trump liked to brag, during and after his presidency, about all that he accomplished on behalf of the state of Israel. Trump recognized Jerusalem as the capital and the Golan Heights as Israeli territory while moving the U.S. embassy to Jerusalem. Trump and his son-in-law and advisor, Jared Kushner, also presided over the Abraham Accords, a series of peace agreements between Israel and Middle Eastern countries like Bahrain and the United Arab Emirates.
Trump was clearly very close with the political right in Israel, led by Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu, and delivered them most of what they wanted. However, the often-stated idea that Trump “brought peace to the Middle East” has been wildly overstated.
And then, following the horrific terror attacks in Israel last week which has led Israel to declare war against Hamas, Trump has made some head-scratching comments about the situation.
Per The Hill, Trump has declared that Israel “wouldn’t have had to be prepared” for the attacks.
“We have to protect Israel, there’s no choice,” Trump said in a Fox News interview, the outlet reported. “And why do we have to do it? [Israel Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu] has been hurt very badly because of what’s happened here. He was not prepared. He was not prepared, and Israel was not prepared. And under Trump, they wouldn’t have had to be prepared.”
Later on Wednesday, at an appearance in Palm Beach County, per the Washington Post, Trump praised the intelligence of… Hezbollah, the Lebanese militia that has exchanged some fire with Israel but was not behind the initial invasion (that was Hamas.)
“You know, Hezbollah is very smart,” Trump said. “They’re all very smart.”
Trump also criticized Netanyahu for not joining in the 2020 operation in which Trump ordered the killing of Maj. Gen. Qassim Suleimani, the head of Iran’s Quds Force.
This caused Trump to be ripped by his political opponents, including Gov. Ron DeSantis.
“It is absurd that anyone, much less someone running for President, would choose now to attack our friend and ally, Israel, much less praise Hezbollah terrorists as ‘very smart,’” DeSantis said on X.
Illinois Gov. J.B. Pritzker made a statement about the Hezbollah remarks, which was issued by the Biden-Harris campaign.
“No true friend of Israel, the Jewish people, or of peace would praise Hezbollah just days after what President Biden and Jewish leaders have called the deadliest day for Jews since the Holocaust,” the governor said. “Right now is the time to stand with Israel as they confront unimaginable loss and the ongoing threat from terrorists seeking to harm their people. Donald Trump’s comments are disgusting, dangerous, and underscore a simple fact: he is unfit to lead our country and would make the United States and our allies around the world less safe.”
“President Biden’s speech was the most passionately pro-Israel in history,” Michael Oren, a historian, a former Israeli ambassador to the United States, and a onetime harsh critic of the Obama Administration, said on X this week. “The president stood four-square behind the Jewish state and the Jewish people and unequivocally against terror and anti-Semitism, and pledged the power of the US to our defense. Our people will always remember and cherish this speech and the man who delivered it.”
Daily Beast columnist Matt Lewis accused Trump of making the massacres in Israel “all about him.”
“During a speech in West Palm Beach on Wednesday, Trump criticized Israel’s prime minister, Benjamin Netanyahu over a past perceived slight, and praised Hezbollah terrorists—who have been exchanging fire with the IDF on a second front in the North of Israel—as ‘smart,'” Lewis wrote. “And, in the wake of all of this, Trump thinks this is a good time to dredge up an old indignity by the prime minister—someone he had previously lavished praise over and called a friend.”
Author Expertise and Experience
Stephen Silver is a Senior Editor for 19FortyFive. He is an award-winning journalist, essayist and film critic, who is also a contributor to the Philadelphia Inquirer, the Jewish Telegraphic Agency, Broad Street Review and Splice Today. The co-founder of the Philadelphia Film Critics Circle, Stephen lives in suburban Philadelphia with his wife and two sons. Stephen has authored thousands of articles over the years that focus on politics, technology, and the economy for over a decade. Follow him on X (formerly Twitter) at @StephenSilver, and subscribe to his Substack newsletter.